Quiet Riot recorded this song, a cover of a 1973 song by the UK band Slade, for their “Metal Health” album, which helped them leap over Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” and the Police’s “Synchronicity” on the charts for a brief moment. It’s an underrated song in that I’m not sure we give enough credit to how big a hit this was at the time.
It was the first song that introduced me to pop music and the radio. I was in first grade in 1983, and a girl at my school was singing it. I asked her where she heard it, and she said, “on the radio.” So I went home and turned on my parents’ stereo for the first time, and spent the rest of the afternoon spinning the dial and listening for a station that might play it.
An hour later, nothing.
I sat in front of that stereo for hours. Then days.
(By the way, how foreign is this feeling, now, in 2016? To hear about something and NOT have immediate access to it?)
A few weeks later, I finally heard it–the chorus blasted out during a van ride to my friend’s house. Shortly afterward, he turned on MTV (WHAT IS THIS? WE DON’T HAVE CABLE!) and we saw Quiet Riot on television, in the video for “Bang Your Head (Metal Health).” And there was Kevin DuBrow, strapped into a straitjacket, with a metal mask on his face, writhing around a padded room. My friend’s mother came in and warned us the video was satanic.
“Cool,” I wish I thought to myself.
Really, it scared the hell out of me.